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A little while back we began a brief look at the book of Titus as a window onto biblical strategies for ministering in a context similar to Crete (see here). As Paul describes the situation, “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons’” (Titus 1:12). Titus has to plow the hard soil of unregenerate hearts in a culture of dishonesty and fleshly living. How do you labor in such a climate?
First, Paul commands Titus to appoint solid leaders.
Second, those leaders must rebuke people so that they’re sound in the faith. Paul writes:
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, that they may be found in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. (Titus 1:10-14)
I wonder if we ever hear church plant strategists emphasize the ministry of personal rebuke as an effective strategy? I don’t think I have. But it’s part and parcel to ministry in a difficult context. How else will the corruptions of a fallen culture and fallen heart be addressed?
I suspect most of us are more inclined to finding what …
One of the ministries I appreciate a great deal is cru inner city. Men like John Sather and others like him around the country are seeking to take the gospel into the core of cities across the country. Here’s a 3-minute video describing their partnership initiative with local churches called “The Circle of Hope.” Check it out:
Check out the cru inner city/here’s life inner city website to learn more.
This past week has featured some good reading around the blogosphere. Listed below are some posts I enjoyed:
Charles M. Blow, “Thomas Speaks… Blindly about Race.” Loved this paragraph:
We must stop having these juvenile discussions of race and face down the big questions: How can we help people see a thing so vaporous? How can we help direct dialogue among individuals about things happening on a grand scale? How can we help avoid victim and guilt fatigue in addressing problems whose formation was glacial and whose undoing is likely to be so as well? And how can we encourage people to fight on two fronts at once: holding the culture responsible for allowing and even nurturing roadblock biases, while still encouraging individuals to make every effort to overcome those biases, identifying and eliminating self-destructive behaviors?
The Preaching of William Still
I received a real gift in a comment from Malcolm Duff, who read a post I’d written some time back on William Still’s book, The Work of the Pastor. Still was used of God to impact many better known men in the evangelical world today. He pastored Gilcomstom Church in Scotland for 52 years (1945-1997). He was committed to the exposition of God’s word, but I’d never heard him or knew his sermons were available. Then this gift called Tapes from Scotland which makes available some of Still’s preaching.
Kevin DeYoung shows us how to charitably but critically critique a book in his review of Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed …
“Race” is a perenniel problem. It seems inescapable and good thinking about “race,” racism, “post-race” and the like can be difficult to find. Even those who think about it professionally have difficulty managing the spiraling issues that “race” spawns. Because of that, we might be tempted to think we need less thinking, writing and discussion of “race,” not more.
But the reality is that unless we apply ourselves to thinking biblically, carefully and hopefully about these things we won’t make progress. We can’t acquire a new mindset or escape the quagmire of “race” and racism by osmosis. We’re going to have to do some hard work.
That’s why I’m glad to highlight two new sites dedicated to the cause.
The first is a site called “The Gospel and Race“. It’s a new joint venture between Soong Chan-Rah and Anthony Bradley.
The second is Eraçe Ourselves. It’s a new blog dedicated to imagining and pursuing a world where “race” as a construct no longer defines the way we think of ourselves and others. I plan to post there about once a week or so. I’d love it if you would join me there and, more importantly, join me in the project of fostering a biblical view of humanity’s unity and a celebration of God-given diversity rightly understood.
So it looks like my son, Titus, has been bitten by the shutter bug, too. He’s been asking for a camera of his own for a while. And every chance he gets, he borrows my camera or his sister’s to take a few snaps. He’s actually pretty good. At least he consistently shoots better shots than I do. Case in point: Here are a string of snaps he took of David Platt preaching at #CROSScon last week.
Two quick reactions:
1. This is not bad for a seven year old; and
2. Captures the subject pretty well.
A few of the things that encouraged and edified me this past week:
— Jasmine Baucham (@jasminelinette) January 14, 2014
— Kevin Schaub (@schaubkevin) January 17, 2014
— EricBancroft (@EricBancroft) January 11, 2014
A Letter from Kabwata: Christians Eating Grass? http://t.co/ieSFJ5VycY
— Mwansa Ndemi Mbewe (@m6e5tr0) January 11, 2014
— Nathan Ivey (@IveyNathan) January 10, 2014
We won’t have bills in heaven y’all! You can put a praise RIGHT THERE!
— Jackie Hill (@JackieEHill) January 13, 2014
The Biggest Contradiction in the Bible http://t.co/eum3gYDwYw
— David Murray (@davidpmurray) January 14, 2014
I’m still rejoicing in the Spirit-filled fellowship and teaching of #CROSScon this past week. Honestly, it perhaps tops my list of conferences where the presence and power of God were most palpably sensed. For some time to come I’ll be sorting through the many profound moments of insight and illumination gained in those four days. But in the meantime, some more pics capturing some moments on day 2 (see day 1 here).
Well, our Duck Dynasty friends have found themselves in the news again. The show has been something of an inexplicable (to me, at least) pop culture phenomenon. Not since Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” routines has redneck culture been so prominent and acceptable and marketable.
But this time Duck Dynasty finds itself on the receiving end of a media backlash that one could predict with just a little exposure to our current cultural climate on sexuality. The now infamous GQ interview with Mr. Phil Robertson has caused something of a furor surrounding the surprisingly popular Duck Dynasty show.
Watching from the distance of a Caribbean island, which is not to be confused with watching from an impartial distance, several ironies surface for me.
1. It’s ironic that a “vulgar” rejection of certain sexual acts cannot co-exist with visual and verbal sexual vulgarity itself.
2. It’s ironic that “vile” remarks are rejected while the vile acts they describe are celebrated.
3. It’s ironic that an end to the censorship of certain sex acts should be accompanied by the use of censorship.
4. It’s ironic that one’s job can be taken away because of their view of human sexuality while sexual orientation is protected against job descrimination.
5. It’s ironic that young girls can parade themselves as hyper-sexualized beings on major awards shows and older men be vilified for graphically expressing their sexual interest.
6. It’s ironic that “wisdom” on the side of normative sexual ethics requires the use of rhetorical restraint while “tolerance” of deviant sexual ethics …